AL SCOMA ( 1920 - 2007 )
It started with six stools and their mother’s recipes…
In 1965, when brothers Al and Joe Scoma heard about a small coffee shop on the Wharf that was for sale, they had no idea that they about to create a landmark restaurant. The brothers bought the tiny coffee shop on Pier 47, serving coffee and burgers to local fishermen and shortly thereafter, started expanding. A savvy businessman who prided himself on going above and beyond, Al turned a hidden local hangout into one of the nation’s highest grossing independent restaurants in a very short time.
Al Scoma always believed in working hard, enjoying life and being the best in the business. His restaurant operating experience began in the late 1950s as one of the original six partners in Castagnola’s Restaurant on Fisherman’s Wharf. Although he loved the restaurant business, he discovered the difficulty of making efficient, expedient decisions with six partners. So, with his purchase of a humble café in 1965, Al found an outlet for all the business and life lessons he had learned. In no time, Al built Scoma’s into a landmark restaurant and was always in the front of the house to greet locals, visitors, sports stars, celebrities and anyone who walked through the door. Gracious to all, welcoming guests to his restaurant as he would his home, Al believed that everyone was special and deserved the best food and the best service when they dined at Scoma’s.
From the beginning, Al forged and nurtured relationships with local fisherman and by 1979, he purchased a 46-foot fishing boat that continues to be used and licensed for the annual salmon and crab seasons. The local fishermen always knew they had Al’s support, whether offering a hot cup of coffee at the restaurant after a hard day’s work or purchasing their catch directly.
In 1993, with the “pier to plate” concept in mind, Al built Scoma’s its own fish receiving station. Dedicated to his brother and co-founder Joe, the station permits public viewing of wild salmon and local Dungeness crab as it is off-loaded from boats and prepared for the kitchen.
Newsweek Magazine recognized Scoma’s for having one of the best clam chowder recipes in the country (Jan. 10, 2005). And Al was quoted as saying, “We let our food speak for itself.”
Believing in family being the root of a successful business, Al enlisted daughters, nieces, nephews and, his son-in-law Tom Creedon (who is now President of Scoma’s) to build his business and carry on his legacy. When not at the restaurant, he could be found cheering on his beloved San Francisco Giants and Forty Niners or out on the golf course. Al Scoma died in June 2007 of natural causes surrounded by his loved ones. He is survived by his three daughters and his wife Cheryl. His name and restaurant continue to be recognized worldwide.